Pakistan bowler Yasir Shah has been suspended from all cricket-related activities for three months after pleading guilty to breaching the Anti-Doping Code, the International Cricket Council (ICC) announced on Sunday. (Yasir Shah Took Prohibited Drugs by Mistake, Says PCB)
Shah’s retrospective penalty ends on March 27, ruling him out of the Pakistan Super League, the Asia Cup and Pakistan’s World T20 campaign. (PCB Looks to International Cricket Council For Easing Yasir Shah’s Ban)
The 29-year-old tested in November last year, was provisionally suspended by the ICC a month later after his urine sample was found to contain chlortalidone, a diuretics and masking agent on the World Anti-Doping Agency prohibited list.
Shah has emerged as a match-winner for Pakistan in Tests after ace spinner Saeed Ajmal lost form having remodelled his illegal bowling action.
The Pakistan Cricket Board appealed the original suspension, claiming Shah had mistakenly taken his wife’s blood pressure medication.
However, Shah has accepted that he had failed to satisfy the high levels of personal responsibility incumbent upon him as an international cricketer subject to anti-doping rules.
“The announcement reinforces ICC’s zero-tolerance approach to doping, and reminds all international cricketers that they remain personally responsible for ensuring that anything they eat, drink or put into their bodies does not result in an anti-doping rule violation,” said ICC general manager – cricket, Geoff Allardice.
Accepting the sanction, Shah reiterated that he had taken the banned substance by mistake and urged all professional cricketers to learn from his experience.
“I assure all fans and followers of the Pakistan cricket team that I have never taken a performance enhancing substance nor have I ever had the intent of masking any such substance. I have always been careful to check my medication with doctors and medical support staff to ensure it does not contain any substance on the prohibited list,” Shah said in an ICC media release.
“However, I acknowledge that I should have taken extra precautions to ensure that my blood pressure medication was stored separately from my wife’s medication so that there was no possibility of my wife’s medication being mistaken for my own. Therefore, I accept the consequences imposed upon me.”
Shah is Pakistan’s highest-ranked Test bowler and has been a major reason behind the country’s success in the longer format in the past 18 months.
He made his Test debut against Australia in 2014 and took 12 wickets in his maiden series to help Pakistan win both Tests. In June 2015, during a series against Sri Lanka, he became the quickest Pakistan bowler to take 50 wickets in Tests, reaching the mark in just nine games.